The board of directors of OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, suddenly fired Altman on Friday, citing “loss of confidence in CEO Sam Altman.” However, according to foreign media reports, the OpenAI board of directors has suddenly “changed its style overnight” and is discussing with Altman about returning to OpenAI as CEO.
According to “The Verge”, citing a person familiar with the matter, Altman was suddenly fired by the board of directors without any notice on Friday, so he feels “ambivalent” about his return and hopes to implement major governance reforms.
Just one day after Altman was ousted, he re-opened talks with OpenAI, which also shows that OpenAI’s company is in free fall without Altman.
Hours after Altman was fired, OpenAI president and chairman Greg Brockman also announced his resignation; Altman and Brockman had been discussing starting another company with friends and investors.
And on Friday, a group of senior researchers within OpenAI also resigned one after another. People familiar with OpenAI’s internal situation pointed out that more employees are also planning to resign.
Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, issued a statement shortly after Altman was fired, saying the company “remains committed” to the AI company’s partnership. However, OpenAI investors received no prior warning and no opportunity to comment on the board’s decision to remove Altman.
Altman is also the most prominent spokesperson in the field of OpenAI and AI. As competitors are catching up, his sudden “step down” has plunged OpenAI’s future into uncertainty.
OpenAI’s current board of directors consists of chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, former GeoSim Systems CEO Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology Strategy Director Helen Toner.
Unlike traditional companies, OpenAI’s board of directors is not tasked with maximizing shareholder value, and none of them hold shares in OpenAI; they declare that their mission is to ensure the creation of “broadly beneficial” general artificial intelligence (AGI).
“The Verge” quoted multiple sources as saying that Sutskever, who is also a co-founder of OpenAI and leads a team of researchers, played a crucial role in the removal of Altman on Friday. Sources said Sutskever’s role in the coup highlighted the power struggle between OpenAI’s research and product departments.
(First image source: Flickr/TechCrunch)
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